The Washington Crossing Historic Park’s book club will begin discussion of a new selection at its September 16 meeting.
The next book is Standing In Their Own Light: African American Patriots in the American Revolution by Judith L. Van Buskirk.
Meetings are led by the park’s curator, Kimberly McCarty, who also selects the books. “I’d like members of the book club to have a clear appreciation of the contributions of people in the Continental Army who may have been underrepresented in other historic accounts,” she says. “That includes soldiers of color.”
The book considers what the Revolutionary War meant for the 5,000+ African Americans who took up arms. Van Buskirk draws upon historical records, including pension files and muster rolls, to reconstruct the lives of more than 500 African Americans who served in the Continental Army.
She also discusses the black experience leading up to the outbreak of war, the debate at the beginning of the war over the use of black soldiers and enslaved men, and even an all-black regiment with white officers who fought for Rhode Island.
The final chapters of the book examine the post-war lives of black veterans who tried to establish themselves within the new American society and how the Revolution provided examples and strategies for advancing the nineteenth century abolition movement.
Participation in the park’s book club is free and open to all. Members provide their own books. Registration is required by calling 215-493-4076.